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Birkbeck wins two prestigious British Training Awards

The university was recognised in the ‘Not for Profit Initiative of the Year’, and ‘Early Careers Initiative of the Year’ categories.

Four people smiling to the camera. Two of them are holding award trophies that say 'British Training Awards'.
Hristina Ivanova, Tevin Akinyemi; Sam Turnpenny and Eleanor Martin at the British Training Awards

The Access to Digital Skills and Careers Programme run by Birkbeck Careers and Enterprise and funded by the Access Foundation and Hg Foundation, achieved significant success at this week's British Training Awards, winning in two categories. The British Training Awards is an esteemed annual event celebrating exceptional contributions to learning and development, fostering a robust workforce. 

The Access to Digital Skills and Careers Programme supports students from disadvantaged backgrounds in building successful careers in the digital and technology sectors. This comprehensive initiative addresses digital capability and professional networking challenges through three key components: Career Accelerator workshops with industry leaders; training in collaboration with Microsoft to enhance digital skills; and paid micro-placements for hands-on employment experience in the sector. With a focus on mature participants and those from underprivileged backgrounds, the programme has notably enhanced digital career confidence and employability, preparing students for prominent careers in the tech sector. The judges of the British Training Awards commended the initiative for its ‘clear purpose. 

This year’s competition was intense, with over 300 entries from organisations across the UK, including start-ups, public sector entities, tech giants, and global corporations. In the ‘Not for Profit Initiative of the Year’ category, Birkbeck emerged victorious over the other four other finalists, Dementia UK, DHU Healthcare, RSPCA and South East Consortium. In the ‘Early Careers Initiative of the Year’ category, Birkbeck surpassed seven other competitors, including Deloitte, the National Audit Office and The Gym Group, to claim the top spot. 

Professor Sally Wheeler, Vice-Chancellor of Birkbeck, commented: “These awards are a testament to the dedication and hard work of our team in creating career opportunities for students from all backgrounds. It is fantastic to be working with such progressive and supportive partners like the Hg Foundation and The Access Foundation to foster an environment where every student has the chance to succeed and reach their full potential. 

James Turner, CEO of The Hg Foundation, a programme funder, stated,Widening the pipeline of talent into tech is not just the right thing to do, it’s also crucial to meet the skills needs of the future. It’s great to support initiatives like this at Birkbeck that open doors which might otherwise have been closed.” 

Rob Parkinson, Head Trustee of The Access Foundation, another programme funder, added, “It is great to see underserved students having the opportunity to reach their full potential in the tech sector by allowing them access to a career path that would have previously been difficult to reach. 

Hristina Ivanova, Careers and Placement Consultant, leading the Access to Digital Skills and Careers Programme at Birkbeck, remarked, “These awards highlight the success that can flourish when departments and institutions collaborate effectively. We hope to inspire more innovative projects designed to enhance our students' success and broaden their career opportunities.” 

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